3. How It All Began

Sometimes, life knows exactly what you need. 

I’ve always believed in going with the flow. In fact, it’s something I pride myself in – taking things in stride and making the best of everything. 

But for the first time in my life, I faced the reality of my passive nature. I was 23 and had really backed myself into a corner. I never found myself or my passion in college like I was “supposed to,” and had impulsively enrolled in grad school to give myself more time to flounder. Except now I was drowning. In a very, very expensive and prestigious pool, but drowning nonetheless.

I didn’t know what was wrong with me. 

All my friends had already graduated and scored great jobs in finance and tech, while I was STILL taking classes I didn’t care about, stuck in a sleepy college town, and interviewing for jobs I didn’t want. 

I wanted to do something on my own; I knew I would never be happy working for someone else. But that’s what you were supposed to do. It’s what everyone else did. And they were doing great, starting to settle down, buying furniture, and making a life for themselves. I didn’t even know where I could send my security deposit that summer. 

On the day of my birthday, I interviewed with Reliable Bits, a startup incubator, for a marketing internship position. I wasn’t entirely sure what the role would even entail, but I dragged myself on the 5 hour bus ride down to NYC anyway.

Actual footage of me bombing my interview at Relibit HQ: “calculate the number of photos uploaded to FB every year”

Well, joke was on me because Deepak was awesome and we ended up keeping in touch after the interview. He asked me to come up with a list of startup ideas to pitch him when we got coffee the next week.

Vegan handbags was on the top of my list, and apparently he (and his team) agreed.

“I spoke to the team, and we want you to be a founder in our program.”


I must have danced out of that meeting. Or maybe it was the coffee. Either way, he offered me the opportunity to launch my envisioned vegan handbag company with their team.

I was so excited, but also conflicted because there was another internship with a real estate company that I also wanted to accept.

But I knew there was no way I would ever pass up this chance, and after mulling it over and internally exploding from my passiveness for two weeks I told my manager about my situation. I asked if I could intern in the mornings and work on freja in the afternoons, and luckily he was super accommodating (and excited for me!). So this summer I’m working on freja from 6-8am (mostly communicating with our overseas designers and factories), interning from 9-1pm, and working on freja the rest of the day. 

It’s a constant stream of reaching out and following up with people, asking for help, and dealing with strict timelines.

I’m so completely out of my comfort zone. And I couldn’t be happier about it. 

In the span of two weeks, freja blossomed from a daydream to my day job. It’s finally happening, and we’re launching this October. 

Double checks emails 5 times before sending but still makes typos Jenny

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